First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer all our questions. I can speak for everyone when I say, we really appreciated your time and dedication!
My question is about the Good Samaritan law and how it relates to CPR instructors. I’m currently a CPR instructor through the American Heart Association. My husband has his own business and is worried about my liability. Lets say my student ends up doing CPR on someone, and the person dies. Will the Good Samaritan law protect the person who taught the student CPR? Can they sue the instructors? My husband worries too much, but I thought I would ask.
Nancy Brent replies:
Thank you for your nice words about Brents Law.
CPR statutes that provide immunity for those who are certified in CPR and provide needed resuscitation that allegedly results in an injury of or death to a patient almost always provide the same protection immunity from civil suit (for ordinary negligence) if a former student provides CPR and an injury occurs to those who teach CPR. The teacher must be certified in a recognized CPR course and keep that certification current. It would be important for you to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state to determine the specific protections your state statute may afford you.
In preparation for your consultation, you may want to review the interesting website of The National Conference of State Legislatures. One of its web pages has a listing, State Laws On Heart Attacks, Cardiac Arrest & Defibrillators (2008). Located at www.ncsl.org/program/health/aed.htm, the page has a wealth of information about immunity laws for those who provide CPR.
If you are not familiar with it, The American Heart Association also has an excellent web page, CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Located at www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifer=3011764, it has, among other links, an Instructor Information feature.
Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.